Dementia at Work

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Dementia at Work

According to People Management, ‘Employees with early onset dementia face a lack of workplace support and early dismissal, with those in lower-paid jobs most affected’. Dementia can cause a lot of problems within the work space which should be dealt with both fairly and without discrimination.

The Equality Act requires employers to avoid discrimination and make reasonable adjustments to ensure people with dementia and their careers are not disadvantaged in the workplace. Carers of people with dementia also have the right to request flexible working and time off. Many carers and people with dementia are, however, unaware of their rights. More than 40,000 people under the age of 65 have been diagnosed with dementia in the UK – and 18 per cent of them continue to work after a diagnosis.

As the number of people with dementia is forecast to increase (to over 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051), and with a greater number of people expected to work later in life, it’s an issue that’s bound to become increasingly significant in the workplace. In fact, a recent survey found that almost nine out of ten employers recognised that dementia was a growing issue for their organisation.

The stigma around dementia has been tackled in several jobs. In 2017 the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) released a statement which declared that they wanted, ‘…tackle the stigma surrounding a diagnosis of dementia in working life and to support nurses with dementia to work as fully as they can, for as long as they wish to’. This move by the RCN shows that people with dementia are still capable of working.

Gavin Terry, head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, reminded employers the Equality Act protects employees with medical conditions including dementia from discrimination. He told People Management: “If someone wants to stay at work, they have the right to reasonable adjustments to empower them to do so.”

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